This is the second article about the breathing training series. As I said in my previous article, I have some new material that provides us some new options for training with our most underestimate ability: the breathe (∆).
Today, we will focus on the exhaling part of breathing. I recently discovered that it is possible to focus not only on inhaling – and the sensation of expanding – but also on exhaling: by doing so, we can try to “empty” as much as possible our lungs. This allows the lungs to expand more, to flexibilise our diaphragm and to boost our immune system.
It is a kind of fasting, not from food, but from oxygen (°) 🙂
Don’t get scary, as for fasting, it is “only” a matter of practice.
One of the main advantages of focusing on exhaling is that it stimulated the parasympathetic nervous system, the rest and digest response. This kind of breathing should be practiced when you are quiet – not while driving for example – and you are looking for enhance relaxation – for example before falling asleep.
Let’s have a look to the practice!
Below, I present 4 breathing exercises where the exhaling part plays an important role.
The breath is made with the nose (*), when this is possible. While practicing, you can try to exhale very slow, until you feel you wish to take in more air. When you inhale, do this quietly and gently.
1) The simplest way to train is to inhale counting on 4 and exhale counting on the double, 8. Do this for 5 minutes.
2) Then: inhale counting on 3. Exhale counting on 3. Hold your breath counting on 3. Do this for 5 minutes.
3) More challenging: inhale counting on 4. Exhale counting on 7. Hold your breath counting on 8. Do this for 5 minutes.
4) The last one is one of my classics of my Breathing Circle: 4×7. Inhale counting on 7. Hold you breath – while being “full” – counting on 7. Exhale counting on 7. Hold your breath – while being “empty” – counting on 7. This will make you notice what part of the breathing is more challenging for you. Do this for at least 5 minutes.
Enjoy this practice! And as always, I will happy to support you !
Contact me also if you are interested in receiving more information about this topic.
(∆) Breath by James Nestor.
(°) “Slower, longer exhales, mean higher carbon dioxide levels. With that bonus carbon dioxide, we gain a higher aerobic endurance. This measurement of highest oxygen consumption is the best gauge of cardiorespiratory fitness.” p. 89, Breath by James Nestor.
(*) “The importance of nose breathing is that sinuses release a huge boost of nitric oxide, a molecule that plays an essential role in increasing circulation and delivering oxygen into cells…. Nasal breathing alone can boost nitric oxide sixfold, which is one of the reasons we can absorb about 18% more oxygen than by just breathing through the mouth”. p. 50, Breath by James Nestor.